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Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31243168) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

So the "tax cuts for the rich" lowered expenses for businesses. Why would the business reinvest that money into employees and tooling? Because it wants to make money! If the business is doing well, it will probably want to expand and improve itself, so it will choose to reinvest. And again, we don't have to guess at that, we have the actual data showing that it happened quite often.

But fine: maybe some didn't want to expand or weren't doing well enough that they'd see a return on that investment. The owner would then keep the money... but not in his mattress, he'd put it in a bank which would then have the money available to loan to other businesses that DID want to expand. Again, no theory here, only fact that it's what banks do.

The economic recovery of the early 2000s was largely, clearly, and explicitly due specifically to the "tax cuts for the rich" that everyone has been all too quick to hang around Bush's neck. Funny, that.

And now we're rushing to kill that albatross.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31243130) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Changes in the law affect law, not economics. Would you say we need to write all new physics every time someone moves a little mass?

So you bring up sub-prime mortgages that "haven't exactly helped out economy out." Even that's not exactly an accurate view of what's going on, though it is the popular view and the view that has benefited politicians to reinforce.

The subprime mortgages actually HAVE worked to help the economy out in various ways ranging from allowing people to have a chance at home ownership when they otherwise wouldn't have had the option to allowing financial institutions to hedge their bets, managing their risk.

In fact, a huge part of what happened wasn't because of sub-prime mortgages and derivatives, but because of the political reaction to them. Politicians hijacked the system, throwing a wrench into it all and crashing it.

You could argue that the system should have been more durable so as to withstand politicians' meddling, but I wouldn't really blame the system itself for that.

Economists know this, but the word doesn't really get out because it's not politically convenient. As you say, the politicians want to increase their power at every turn, and the crash of the market that they caused through their hamhanded meddling is just another example of this.

Don't blame the economists or the financial system for the actions of power hungry politicians.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31237572) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Studies. Plural. This wasn't some kind of one-off research done halfheatedly by a guy with an ax to grind, but an issue looked into by real researchers who know how to do academic work.

And no, like I said, it was all done and settled years and years ago. I don't exactly have every paper I've ever read sitting next to my desk.

But is it so hard to imagine? That if you lower expenses for businesses in real, lasting ways, that they'd be able to apply that capital into expansion and new hiring?

Bush's "tax cuts for the rich" was obviously not about letting rich people have more money for the hell of it, but about letting them keep more of their own money so that they could put it to use in economy-expanding ways. And it worked exactly as planned.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31237312) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Perhaps you think economists are so out in the dark because the ones you're hearing from are either bad economists or are simply talking about/motivated by non-economic factors. Lord knows I hear enough of those in the popular media.

But, in general, economists most certainly can apply their craft to current situations.

It often becomes a matter of carefully separating economics from all-too-related topics like politics and popular opinion.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31231790) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Clearly you're even less an economist than I am. I, at least, have worked with economists to apply physical mathematics to economic problems, and thus know that economics is very much a science... and this coming from a physicist.

The fields of economics and physics actually have a lot in common. Both, as you point out, involve a lot of correlations, but just as we physicists somehow manage to suss out causation, economists do as well.

Anyway, yeah, there is solid, pretty unassailable evidence to back what I say. I don't have the studies in front of me anymore as the matter was pretty much investigated and settled years ago, but in short, the "tax cuts for the rich" ended up applying to a lot of small businesses that were able to use their savings to directly hire new employees. There was no quibbling about it: the study authors called up the businesses and asked. The causation was not just possible, it was explicit.

In general, economists DO agree on an awful lot. What divergences exist tend to arise from differing subjective opinions about matters that aren't actually economic but rather matters of public policy and ethics. After all, two people will gauge market performance differently if they have different metrics.

Comment: Re:Even McCain represented hope? (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31132558) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Hope that he'd sway conservative in recognition of the voters who put him in office and in recognition that he pretty much had to if he wanted a second term.

Or, hell, step down from the nomination at the last second recognizing that he wasn't the man for the job.

The hope was a longshot, absolutely, but it was there and it kept things in a different phase than the situation when tea parties were sparked.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31131066) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

There certainly are differences between policies that increase the deficit. Sure they all increase the deficit, but that's not nearly the end of the story.

And no, the current state of affairs doesn't indicate that the boost from these tax cuts was temporary. It only demonstrates how later policies and events separately affected the economy.

Comment: Re:And keep the government off my Medicare! (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31130798) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

That's a fine theory, but the data show otherwise.

The ultimate example came when the lack of support from the conservative base made the difference between a win and a loss for McCain.

As for my being deluded, again, I watched this stuff unfold in realtime from primary sources on CSPAN. You wouldn't believe how wrong the reports on nightly news, wire services, and certain websites were. I don't claim you're deluded or anything, just uninformed about what was really going on.

Comment: Re:And keep the government off my Medicare! (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31130208) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

"you blind fools"? Does that mean you think I'm a Republican?

No, I just believe in knowing my enemies.

Anyway, so you think voters woke up on election day in '06 and decided, "Hey, I wonder who I should vote for? Hm. I don't know about these Republicans, let's vote them out!"

No. Conservatives had been complaining about the Republicans in congress for a long time before, and their complaints had been building for a while. Republican power was in decline long before '06; it just takes a while for even party loyalists to finally give up. Elections like these are lagging indicators.

It's also funny that you talk about Republican leadership and voting as a bloc since a whole lot of their problem during that time period was that they had none at all! They were completely spinning their wheels and letting the Democratic minority stand in their way. Maybe you didn't watch as day after day they tried to get things together on the floor of the congress but failed to get their proposals through. CSPAN is your friend.

In the end this is what really killed them. They spent so badly BECAUSE the had no leadership reigning them in. They didn't act like a party or conservatives, but instead acted like selfish politicians voting money for their districts at the expense of the whole country. And why not? There was no leadership to gather the party against such behavior, so anyone not voting himself money was effectually harming himself.

In the end yes, the conservatives punished Republicans for their spending, and it's unfortunate that such spending has been associated with the Republican party at all since the real story involves the opposite: without congressional leadership there was no real Republican party in congress, just a bunch of congressmen with (R) next to their name.

Comment: Re:Kill the Pork (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31130074) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

"While they may have had a short term effect in stimulating the economy"

And that's the only thing I asserted, except that "short term" here means immediate, not temporary. The jobs and economic activity traceable directly back to this policy was real and legitimate, unlike notions of bailouts and subsidies that might cause a boost for a few months.

The deficit is a larger problem than any particular spending or tax cut, and it should have been handled. In the end, though, I don't think it's right to see tax cuts as a cost to government. They're a lack of income, not an outlay, and spending needs to be scaled back to what's coming in, not the other way around.

Comment: Re:And keep the government off my Medicare! (Score 1) 340

by volkris (#31130024) Attached to: State of Alabama Fighting NASA's New Plan

Really? You think Bush was cruising to reelection despite across the board unpopularity, barely winning the elections when he WAS popular, and a result to the 2008 election that further indicated that the conservatives were willing to sit on their hands when they didn't like the Republican nominee?

That's pretty ridiculous.

As for the war, it was plenty unpopular before the 2004 election. Even so, it was hung on Bush's neck, not on the necks of the congress. After all, they weren't the ones setting strategy and calling shots.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley

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